In 2019, I, like many others, watched and subsequently felt guilty after the Netflix documentary, Gamechangers. As far as I could tell, it was my moral duty to become a vegan. I had been a vegetarian for nearly two years so I didn’t really think it would be a big deal. Why not disassociate myself from the sins of the dairy and poultry industries as well as those of meat and fish whom I had already cut myself free from.
For about 3 months, I felt great and walked around full of virtue at my morally and physically superior diet. After 6 months, I didn’t feel so great. My strength in (and motivation for) the gym tailed off. I lost muscle and gained body fat. I just felt, well, meh.
After a year, a naturopath I went to see told me to relax a bit with the diet. She didn’t say, “don’t be a Vegan,” but it was all the excuse I needed. I went home and cracked two eggs into the frying pan and my body breathed a sigh of relief. Within months I was eating meat again.
I have explored the moral implications of veganism and a carnivorous diet, and it is probably too complicated to go into in this blog alone. I will just say, that my personal opinion is that small scale, local level, organic type farms that produce low numbers of well treated animals is good for human health and also the environment.
Fast forward 14 months from when I abandoned veganism and I was ready to start an equally extreme diet. A new client presented with long standing severe gastro-intestinal issues which had been unresponsive to all interventions. I had heard about the benefits of “The Carnivore Diet” by listening to Dr Shawn Baker on The Joe Rogan Experience some years ago. I was also aware that Jordan Peterson and his daughter Mikhaila are advocates of the diet and believe it has helped them with certain auto immune disorders they suffer with. Around the time my new client turned up, I was also interested to hear that a guy I’d been training with at BJJ, who has exceptional strength and was making life difficult for me when we rolled, had been on The Carnivore Diet for a few years and had improved his psoriasis by following it. I felt like it could benefit my client, but I wanted to try it before I gave it to him. I did it strictly (minus some cheese and a few chocolates at new year) for about 6 weeks. I ate only meat (mainly red), eggs and fish. Here is what I got from the experience.
Ultimately, for all the good I feel it’s done me I’m not totally comfortable with keeping this diet as a permanent change just yet. I’ve now shifted over to a keto diet as whilst I think it is possible we can get all we need from meat, eggs and fish alone, I’m still married to the belief that we must get some of our essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. I also prefer to be able to eat the same thing as my family at times and have a proper meal time which wasn’t always easy when I had to eat something completely different to them. The experiment has been worth it however. I recommended it to my client and I am pleased to report that it seems to have contributed to a reduction in his GI symptoms. My intention is to utilise it for short periods every now and again as a way of resting my gut and to instil the same discipline into the rest of my life that is necessary in order to stick to this extreme diet. Maybe you should try it too!
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